I, Dalton Lewis, had a terrible time from the age of twenty to thirty. I thought I’d create a numbered list of the various disasters which happened in that era of my life.
- I drank. Why? I don’t know. I was stupid and decided to drink a lot of liquor. I drank a little beer, a very little wine, a lot of mixed drinks, and a ridiculous number of shots of hard liquor — all with a chaser. I was that wimp who needed a chaser when he drank hard liquor even though he did it every night. Around four p.m. I would decide that I had done enough with the day and written enough and drinking time had started. I would get out the bottle of vodka or rum or occasionally tequila — mostly vodka or rum — and I would start to take shots. I would take a shot and then pace through my parents’ house and scream at the voices inside of my head. I don’t remember very much of what was said to the voices in that era but it wasn’t anything particularly important — getting framed for rape and murder over and over, and a smattering of getting framed for racism as well. I would drink shots, over and over, until I would no longer remember the rest of the evening around ten or eleven. I would wake up mid-morning to mid-afternoon and wonder how the night ended. Then I would write for an hour or so and do something halfway productive for maybe an hour or two and then, bam, it was time to drink again. This happened until my mother convinced me to quit drinking.
- I worked as a temporary employee. I did simple work, nothing glamorous, and nothing that paid well. I worked at offices or warehouses barely able to do the minimum. I moved boxes from one spot to another. I typed in data to a computer from a physical form which I had been given. I managed databases. I did nothing glamorous. I worked at offices or warehouses doing very little of note. I knew that little was required of me and that I wasn’t giving very much back to the world. Morale was low at these jobs. I didn’t want to do them very much. One of them had dirty needles all over the place in a huge pile and asked us to clean up what looked like unsanitary messes. One place asked me to make copies and then didn’t need more than an hour’s copies made each day, making me sit there, doing nothing, for seven hours a day. Some warehouses made me move boxes so strenuously that I couldn’t manage to continue to do it for the full shift. Sometimes I repacked groceries onto shelves from the back of the store. I did all these jobs and understood that I was of little value — anyone could do these jobs.
- I dated. I dated two people and didn’t like the experience. It was hard — hard to tell the truth every time, harder to lie. It was hard to be the man that I needed to be in order to be a good boyfriend. I didn’t like dating very much.
- I watched movies. I watched a lot of movies. I watched all the science fiction and horror movies and superhero movies.
- I read comic books. I read a lot of comic books, from X-Men to Batman to Vertigo’s line of artsy comics.
- I worked out for the first half of my twenties. I ran forty minutes a day several days a week and stayed in great shape until I had my breakdown.
- I had my well-documented breakdown in which I became sick with paranoid schizophrenia. I screamed at the voices inside of my head. I was kicked out of stores. I was sent home to live with my parents. I failed as an adult. If you want to read about that read Ascension by Daniel Trump. It’s about that.
- I played board games. I played a slew of board games, mostly with Finnegan and friends. We sat around a table, sometimes drinking, and we would play games until long in the evening, enjoying each other’s company. I remember many a night spent playing these games together.
- I moved to Pennsylvania for about ten months in which I worked as a cashier at a local grocery store. I lived with a friend, Gilbert, and we played occasional video games and watched movies and lived together.
- I wrote — poorly. I wrote a number of books, including My Little Paradise, The Rites of Hunger, and Modern Goth. I didn’t finish very many of them. I wrote a couple of screenplays. I threw my everything into these projects and people would shrug and say pretty good.
That’s my twenties — or what I selectively remember from my twenties.
Thanks, and take care, friends.